SOURCE: Research Driven Investing
NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - Feb 5, 2013) - A string of positive economic data helped propel the Dow Jones industrial average and the S&P 500 Index to five-year highs. On January 25th, the S&P 500 Index closed above the 1,500 mark for the first time since 2007. "The bottom line is that corporate America is doing exceptionally well," said JPMorgan global market strategist, Joe Tanious. Research Driven Investing examines investing opportunities in the S&P 500 Index and provides equity research on The Clorox Company (NYSE: CLX) and Leggett & Platt, Inc. (NYSE: LEG).
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A steadily improving U.S. housing market combined with a 5-year low in jobless claims has helped boost investor optimism heading into 2013. Earlier this month the Labor Department reported initial claims for unemployment benefits declined 37,000 to a seasonally adjusted total of 335,000, which was the largest weekly drop in nearly 2 years. Strong earnings from major companies such as Alcoa, General Electric and Proctor & Gamble have also contributed to the markets recent surge. Collectively, companies in the S&P 500 Index are projected to report a 3.8% earnings growth in the fourth quarter, according to S&P's Capital IQ.
"The economy is entering the year maybe not with a running start, but certainly a head start," Jack Ablin, BMO Private Bank's chief investment officer, said in a recent telephone interview, according to Bloomberg. "It helps build a nice story for 2013."
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The Clorox Company is a leading multinational manufacturer and marketer of consumer and professional products with fiscal year 2012 revenues of $5.5 billion. The company reported a net income of $123 million for the fourth quarter, a 17 percent increase when compared to the fourth quarter of 2011. The company now anticipates sales growth in the range of 3 percent to 5 percent for fiscal 2013.
Leggett & Platt conceives, designs, and produces a diverse array of products that can be found in most homes, offices, and vehicles. The company reported record EPS of $1.70 for the full-year 2012, compared to full-year EPS of $1.04 in 2011. Leggett & Platt has increased their annual dividend for 41 consecutive years.
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